Review by Myrdraal8
Motion Controls Make This the Best Mario Kart (Bike?!) Ever!
Concept: Nintendos racing classic is brought to the Wii complete with precise motion controls. Same racing/battle action that we have come to know and love.
Graphics: The graphics are the best in the series. Small details are preserved and reversed in Mirror mode. Inclusion of your own Mii and your friends Miis is fun and adds personal polish.
Sound: The music and sound effects are standard for the series. Audio cues now warn you of incoming items such as green shells.
Control: The game allows the user a number of controllers for the Wii, including the remote and nun chuck, GameCube controller, and the new Wii Wheel. Although some users feel the GameCube controller is superior I personally found the Wii Wheel to be fun and very precise. In my desire to fully experience the motion controls of the Wii I stuck to the Wii Wheel and found success (all gold trophies and a competitive online vs score).
Mario Kart Wii simply improves upon the series. The controls are tight, the action is fast paced, and a whole slew of older courses from previous titles have been included with the new 16 tracks to make a total of 32 tracks to race. Everything about the series has been preserved and enhanced, except the use of two characters at once as in Double Dash (a concept I was not too fond of myself).
A new form of racing that takes advantage of the Wii Wheel is the use of dirt bikes. Seriously the bikes are a ton of fun to use, but are perhaps the best vehicles in the game, making this version more of a Mario Bike Wii. However skilled users can still do some damage with the karts. What made the bikes so much fun for me to play was the use of sharply pulling the Wii Wheel toward you to make the bike pop-a-wheelie or to perform flips during a jump, both of which grant speed boosts.
The racing itself is tight and precise with the items being fairly randomized depending on your position. This does two things. First it makes it possible to dominate a race purely based on skilled driving rather than smart item use. However wise of items is still critical for success and certain items can still help those in last go to first place. This brings me to my second point; no matter how good you are the items do a fair job of leveling the playing field and can screw the person in the lead. It is this balance between the driving and item use skills that is perfectly tuned in this version of Mario Kart.
That being said, prepare to use various karts, bikes, and drivers to conquer the Grandprixs and Time Trial modes. The 150cc class and Staff Ghosts are pretty challenging, making this a difficult Mario Kart game even for those who have played the series from the first game.
The battle modes have been enhanced by online play by allowing more than four racers to compete. Red shell tracking has been handicapped a bit, so the battles are more skill intensive. Again, classical courses have been included in the game to preserve the fun, but seriously, multiplayer racing and balloon battles have been taken to the next level due to online capability. The online play may be dragged down by the need to input multi-digit numbers to play against friends and the lack of head sets to vocally communicate, but it is still an improvement for Nintendo and Mario Kart in general.
Recommendation: Mario Kart Wii is the best in the series. Racing skill is now equally balanced with the combat system and the new Wii Wheel is a great addition to bring a sense of simulation to the game.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Mario Kart Wii (w/ Racing Wheel) (US, 04/27/08)
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